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ENGL 057 - Critical Connections in Reading and Writing - Thaker

Class Research Guide

MLA In-Text Citation Flowchart

MLA In-text citation flowchart - refer to outline after image 

Outline Summary - MLA In-Text Citations Flowchart
  1. Q: Are you paraphrasing or quoting from a source?
    1. If No, You do not need to provide a citation in parentheses.
    2. If Yes, Q: Does your source have page numbers?
      1. If No, You will not include any numbers in your in-text citation. Move to Q: “Are you able to Identify an author?”
      2. If Yes, Include the page number of the information you used in your in-text citation. Move to Q: “Are you able to Identify an author?”
  2. Q: Are you able to identify an author? 
    1. If No, Use a shortened version of the title, in quotations marks
    2. If Yes, Q: Are the authors identified by first and last names
      1. If No, Use the group, organization or department name
      2. If Yes, Q: “How many authors are there?”
        1. One: Use the last name only
        2. Two: Use both last names with the word and in between
        3. Three or more: Use the first author’s last name followed by et al.
  3. Q: Did you put any author names or page numbers in the sentence where you used the information?
    1. If Yes, You do not need to duplicate what you already wrote within parentheses.
    2. If No, Place the information in parentheses at the end of the sentence before the period.
Examples of two authors with page information: 
Smith and Jones noted 5% increase in the use of infographics in the last two years (45).
There was a 5% increase in the use of infographics in the last two years (Smith and Jones 45).

In-Text Citations

When writing your paper, you need to provide an in-text citation that tells the reader which of your sources the information came from. This citations shows up within the paper as either part of the introductory phrase of the sentence or in parentheses at the end of the sentence. 

"An in-text citation begins with the shortest piece of information that directs your reader to the entry in the Works Cited list. Thus it begins with whatever comes first in the entry"  (usually the author). A second 'location" component will also often be included, if available. Examples of second components are page numbers; line numbers; and time stamps (Modern Language Association 227-228).

In-text citations must be included for both direct quotations and paraphrases. 


According to Smith, the number of students relying on citation software has increased (234). 

The number of students relying on citation software has increased (Smith 234). 

This in-text citation points the reader to the Works Cited page to find the complete citation. 


3 or More Authors

*For in-text citations use et al. Example: (Smith et al.)

*For a Works Cited page use et al. Example:

Smith, David, et al. "The Importance of a Works Citation Page." Citation Machine, vol. 24, no. 2, Spring 2015, pp. 107-108. Academic Search Complete, %2flogin.aspx%fdirect%3dtrue%26db%3da9h%26AN%3d2491181%26site%dehost-live%26scope%dsite.